Michigan International Speedway

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Watkins Glen, Michigan announce multi-year sponsor deals

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Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway announced multi-year sponsorship deals for their Cup Series races Thursday.

WGI announced the Aug. 5 race at the road course will be sponsored by GoBowling.com. The 90-lap race will be called “Go Bowling at the Glen.”

This is not the first time the bowling brand has sponsored a Cup event. It sponsored the spring race at Kansas Speedway from 2016-17 and the August event at Pocono Raceway from 2013-14.

As part of the deal, Go Bowling will have two bowling lanes at the track for the race weekend.

Michigan has renewed its sponsorship deal with FireKeepers Casino Hotel for its June Cup race for “many years.”

The hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, began its relationship with MIS by sponsoring pole day in 2014. It began sponsoring the June race in 2016.

TheFireKeepers Casino 400 is scheduled for June 10.

ISM Raceway (Phoenix) also announced the title sponsor for its March 11 Cup race.

The event will called the TicketGuardian 500.

TicketGuardian is a mobile ticketing insurance provider. When fans purchase tickets to events at ISM Raceway, they will be given the option to add TicketGuardian’s ticket protection coverage. This allows fans to have insurance on the tickets they’ve purchased in advance.

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Xfinity Series to use Indianapolis package at Michigan, Pocono in 2018

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NASCAR Xfinity teams will use the drafting package that debuted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July also at Michigan International Speedway and Pocono Raceway next season, the sanctioning body announced Wednesday.

William Byron won at Indy in July. That race featured an event-record 16 leads changes in 100 laps. The previous record for lead changes in that race was nine.

NASCAR equipped cars with aero ducts, a different spoiler (64 3/4 inches wide and 6 inches tall) and a 7/8-inch restrictor plate for that Indianapolis race. All of those items also will be used at Michigan and Pocono next year.

Some drivers liked the package at Indianapolis, but Kyle Busch did not, expressing his dissatisfaction after his two-year winning streak in that event ended with a 12th-place finish.

“They wanted to slow down the fastest guy here so the rest of the field could keep up and they did,’’ Busch said after the July race.

Ryan Reed, who finished sixth at Indy, had a different viewpoint.

“I think anytime you make the cars … slower, they’re easier to drive,’’ he said. “When they’re easier to drive, you’re able to put them in more difficult positions and come out the other end OK and you’re going to have a little more confidence. I think you’ve got to find a balance because at this level a high-rate of speed is what help defines the sport.

“You don’t want us to go down and run 140 miles an hour and wide open every track, otherwise who wants to watch that? Just find a balance. I think that this may be a step in the right direction. It seems like the racing was better.’’

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Scan All: Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway (video)

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On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America and in our weekly Scan All feature, we relived the sights and sounds from Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 that saw Kyle Larson take the checkered flag there for the third consecutive race.

In an interesting irony, Larson got probably the best restart of his life to win the race.

But to start the race, it was a whole different story.

“I dropped anchor at the start and got probably the worst start of my life,” Larson said. Catch more of his comments and those of other drivers and teams in this week’s edition of Scan All.

Steve Letarte: Kyle Larson laid foundation for Michigan win earlier in race (video)

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We all know how Kyle Larson made the race-winning move on the final restart of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.

But on Tuesday’s NASCAR America, NASCAR on NBC analyst Steve Letarte said Larson laid the foundation for the win even earlier in the race.

“While that last restart was very impressive, and without a doubt was the moment that the 42 actually won the race, I think it started way earlier in the race,” Letarte said. “About the 75 percent mark, we had a lot of leaders running on the race track under green and it was pretty stretched out.

“The 78 of Martin Truex Jr., who at this point looked like he had the race under control, came to pit road for four tires. He drew the 2 of Brad Keselowski with him, but not the 42 (Larson). The (42 crew) decided to leave the 42 on the racetrack, stuck with their guns and strategy, and it ended up paying off.

“When the 22 came to pit road and debris from his car created the next-to-last yellow, that was an important point because that’s what the 42 needed. The decision to pit was pretty easy for fuel, but I think the tough decision was how many tires. (Crew chief) Chad Johnston made a very gutsy move, he put four tires and I think that made a big difference.”

 

NASCAR America: Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones continue Rookie of the Year battle (video)

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The battle for Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Cup Series has become a tight race between Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones.

Jones closed the gap between Suarez and himself with Sunday’s third-place finish in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Suarez, meanwhile, was involved in a hard wreck with Kasey Kahne that knocked both of them out of the race.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, our analysts discussed not only the battle between Suarez and Jones, but also their chances of making the upcoming NASCAR Cup playoffs.